Energy drinks and sports drinks can include anything from vitamin water, sports beverages, and highly caffeinated drinks. Most of the have added ingredients that say they “do” something extra, alertness, boost nutrition, increase energy or enhance athletic performance.
Important fact is that most kids, even athletes need only plain water to stay hydrated.
Sports drink may be helpful for teens and kids who do vigorous physical activities like:
- long-distance running and biking.
- Play high-intensity sports like football, hockey, and basketball.
Sport drinks contain sugar (carbohydrates) that can provide an immediate source of energy when the body’s stores are used up. The sports drinks have electrolytes like potassium and sodium, that the body loses through sweat. Electrolytes help keep the body fluid levels in balance and help muscles work properly.
Vitamin waters or enhanced waters come in many flavours and various combinations of supplemental minerals and vitamins. These may contain artificial sweeteners, sugar, herbal ingredients, and caffeine.
These may seem like a quick way to fill any nutrition gaps in a child’s diet, but it is better for children to get nutrients from healthy meals and snack. These drinks may provide too much minerals and vitamins, especially if children already take daily multivitamins.
Studies have found that energy drinks are very popular with middle and high school students and some are clearly labelled as unsuitable for children and other are marketed to children as young as 4, stating that it boosts energy, nutrition and enhances athletic performance.
Most of the energy drinks have lots of caffeine and sugar, too much sugar could put your children in the fast lane to the dentist and possible weight gain. Caffeine comes with its own set of problems, especially in younger children.
Possible effects of too much caffeine:
- Upset stomach.
- Difficulty to concentrate.
- Troubled sleeping.
For young children too much caffeine could even have more serious side effects, like high blood pressure, seizures, irregular or fast heartbeats, and hallucinations. So, we get back to water – most children drinking water before, during and after playing sports will keep them hydrated. Children and teens who play sports can improve their game through hard work and practice, these values and lessons will serve them well both on and off the field.